The editor of the Guardian has written to apologise to the ex-BBC chairman at the centre of an anti-Semitism row over a ‘sickening’ cartoon in the newspaper.
Katharine Viner has been facing calls to resign over the offensive image which depicted Richard Sharp, who is Jewish, with ‘outsized grotesque features’.
She has also agreed to speak to the UK’s leading Jewish community body to ‘discuss their concerns’.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews said yesterday they would also raise ‘other examples of questionable output’.
Drawn by cartoonist Martin Rowson, it showed the ex-Goldman Sachs banker carrying a box from the bank stuffed with a squid, Rishi Sunak’s head, and what appeared to be gold coins.
Dave Rich, of Jewish charity the Community Security Trust, told the Jewish Chronicle the cartoon ‘falls squarely into an anti-Semitic tradition of depicting Jews with outsized grotesque features, often in conjunction with money and power’.
In a 1,000-word statement Mr Rowson, 64, said he felt ‘enormous regret, idiocy and deep shame.’
He explained he knew Sharp was Jewish because they both attended the fee-paying Merchant Taylors’ school in North London, but insisted that Sharp’s Jewishness ‘never crossed my mind as I drew him’.
‘I was trying to draw him looking silently furious, by implication with Johnson, in the standard caricatural way common to all political cartoons of exaggerating various of his features.
‘I thought at the time it was a fairly mild caricature compared with how I’d draw Johnson.’
A Guardian spokesman said the meeting with the Board of Deputies would go ahead, adding Ms Viner had personally written to Mr Sharp to apologise for the cartoon.
Read More: Guardian editor apologises to ex-BBC chairman Richard Sharp at centre of anti-Semitism row